Friday, April 25, 2008

RANDOM RANTS...
That pic above is from the front cover of the new TEN EAST album, to be released in a couple of weeks. Entitled The Robot's Guide To Freedom, it'll knock yer head off. Totally 'Flag damaged instrumental rock of the highest calibre, it is the 'Flag/Beefheart/Ventures/Meat Puppets/'Sabbath/King Crimson combo you've been waiting your whole life for. It's a goddamn honour to be releasing such a fine platter, and I only hope it manages to find the audience it deserves. And that's not just for hip-pocket reasons, but because it is a grand statement from one of the world's finest outfits. And I'd say that even if I wasn't the guy releasing it. I've just inked a new distribution deal w/ Forced Exposure in the US, so hopefully all you Yanks will be able to find it on the corner store or online or wherever. As long as it gets out there, I'm pleased. With the monumental line-up of Gary Arce, Mario Lalli, Bryan Giles (from Last Of The Juanitas/Red Fang, two great bands I'll be writing about soon, I hope), Bill Stinson and special guests Scott Reeder and Greg Ginn on bass and guitar, respectively, this baby is something I feel a certain amount of pride for, and I didn't play a damn note on it. You can hear some tracks here, if you please. Out mid May, and touring here in August.
I caught a new local band last night at the Tote who blew my head off: BEACHES. Three people had mentioned them to me in the last fortnight: a taste-making buddy who swore by their greatness; another friend who runs a local label and was miffed that someone else had them sign on the dotted line before he got a chance (and they've only played half a dozen gigs!); and the owners of that very label who did grab 'em, Mistletone. Beaches are five young (I'm guessing early 20s: that's young by my standards) ladies, some of whom are in the much-loved/loathed 'Trux wannabes, Spider Vomit. The line-up is bass and drums and three - count 'em: three - guitarists, with two or three of the members sharing vocals. The sound is difficult to pinpoint. Throughout the set I heard bits of early Meat Puppets, Neurotica-period Redd Kross, Hawkwind, Black Sabbath, way-early Sonic Youth, Dick Dale and, err, Ten East (really!); a unique combo of almost trashy, Redd Kross/Runaways-style rock, combined w/ smarty-pants art-rock (especially the amazing guitar interplay a-happenin') and monumental stoner/boogie/space riffs which catch an awesome groove and ride along with a plethora of six-string wankery I do have a weakness for. I try to keep this blog away from being a hype machine about bands which may end up going nowhere - the prediction of 1995 that Refrigerator will soon dominate the world still haunts me - though judging by the audience reaction Beaches received last night, I figure I'm not the only putz in town who thinks they're onto really something good. It doesn't happen often, but my socks were knocked firmly off.
You heard of the band from yesteryear, MOFUNGO? Probably not. They mighta been a glitch on your radar back in the '80s; they did, after all, have a bunch of albums on heavy-hitting imprints like Lost/Twin Tone and SST, though they've mostly been lost to history. More's the pity. I revisited some of their finer platters this past week and they stand the test of time more than adequately. A NY post-No Wave mob w/ ties to The Scene Is Now and one Mr. Elliott Sharp as a member (egghead avant-guitar vet who's linked a lot of Tzadik goings-on), they released a series of albums such Messenger Dogs Of The Gods (1986), End Of The World, Part 2 (1987), Bugged (1988) and Work (1989) which rate as primo NY skronk-rock w/ a heavy politico bent. There's elements of The Scene Is Now's genre-bending and obscurantist songwriting, though they're also coaxed along by Sharp's squawling guitars and a super-heavy political angle (and believe me, hearing songs about Ollie North, The Contras and Ronnie Reagan almost has a quaint glow of nostalgia at this point in history). As with like-minded outfits, Slovenly and The Scene Is Now, the deadpan vocals are either gonna wash over you or stick in your craw, though I think they only add to the ruly offbeat nature of Mofungo's tunes. I bought these for a few bucks a piece at the dawn of the ' 90s when a lot of this kinda stuff (ie. second-string bands of the '80s on labels such as Homestead, Touch & Go, Twin Tone, SST, etc.) was getting dumped in Au-go-go en masse at bargain prices as "Grunge" hit big and the world got swamped by even more killer outfits such as Pond and Hammerhead. And so the bargain-bin cycle starts once more...

1 comment:

J said...

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